8:15 PM: Morgan reports that the deal has now been finalized and is as follows:
2021-2022: $810K NHL salary, $70K AHL salary $10.5K junior salary, $60K signing bonus
2022-2023: $810K NHL salary, $70K AHL salary $10.5K junior salary, $60K signing bonus
2023-2024: $840K NHL salary, $70K AHL salary, $65K signing bonus
The deal will eventually slide with Thornton back in junior and will still have three seasons remaining at the end of this season.
11:33 AM: How about earning an NHL contract before ever playing a game at the major junior level? That’s exactly what Anson Thornton appears to be doing, after an impressive training camp with the Arizona Coyotes. Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports tweets that the Coyotes are close to signing Thornton to an entry-level contract.
Now 18, Thornton was sent back to the Sarnia Sting earlier this month after participating in the Coyotes rookie camp, earning himself a PTO to attend main camp, and even securing a win in a preseason match. All that came before he ever actually suited up for the Sting, given the OHL did not operate during 2020-21. The third-overall pick in the OHL’s U18 Priority Draft, the 6’3″ netminder also hasn’t played through the team’s first two games, ceding the net to Benjamin Gaudreau, a San Jose Sharks third-round draft pick.
Thornton meanwhile wasn’t picked at all this fall, but obviously impressed the Coyotes enough to earn an entry-level deal as a free agent. There’s obviously quite a bit of development still to do, but the young netminder has certainly done everything he can to secure a professional career to this point. For the Coyotes, who are in a full rebuild, adding talent wherever possible is important.